The “Mile High Miracle” will forever live in NFL playoff lore.
Peyton Manning doesn’t want to talk about it.
“I covered that just about all offseason,” the Broncos quarterback told Baltimore reporters. “I know I’m talking to you guys for the first time, but I guess you’ve probably got to check some old clips for quotes.”
It was a slightly perturbed way to start Manning’s press conference. But he wasn’t the only one who didn’t feel like revisiting last year’s game, and that goes for both teams.
“I don’t even think about it that much anymore,” Jones said. “I’m on to a whole new season, trying to get another one.”
Jones said he saw the play on ESPN over and over again in the days after it happened. After the season was over, he talked about it on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Dancing With The Stars.” In many respects, it helped make Jones a star.
But the speedy wide receiver said he personally watched it “just a couple times.” He even downplays his own role in it.
“I give all praise to Joe for making that play,” Jones said. “I just ran and was at the right place at the right time and it fell right in my hands.”
While the temperature will be far different this time around, it would be understandable if memories came flooding back when the Ravens step on the field at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked whether he might allow himself to reminisce, even for a second.
“No chance of that,” he said. “It won’t happen.”
Broncos Head Coach John Fox feels the same way.
“Last year is last year,” he said. “I guess you’d say that’s water under the bridge.”
The only man who reminisced on the play is former Bronco
Dumervil was on the field for that play, and still thinks about what he could have done to change it. Dumervil has had the scab re-opened this week while watching film of the game.
“I could’ve gotten the sack and I didn’t,” Dumervil said. “Me personally, I feel like I could’ve rushed better, and it hurts every time I watch it, even being here.”
The play tortured Broncos fans all offseason too. Talk of safety Rahim Moore, and how he could be caught so out of position, was examined and re-examined. Dumervil saw the pain it caused Denver, who had Super Bowl aspirations as the AFC’s top seed.
“It was devastating,” Dumervil said. “You go in feeling good about what you’re trying to get done. To have to end your season that way, it’s tough.”
The Ravens and their fans can likely empathize. They had their season in 2011 end in similarly heartbreaking fashion when a potential game-winning pass to Lee Evans was dropped and a game-tying kick hooked wide in the AFC championship against the Patriots.
The Ravens went into the rematch of that game in Week 3 last season with a definite chip on their shoulder. Revenge was the storyline heading into the game, especially among the fans.
Now the script is flipped. And Harbaugh is expecting a passionate Broncos crowd Thursday night.
“I’ve got a pretty good feeling that the Broncos fans are going to make us remember [and] think about everything that they want to,” Harbaugh said with a smile.
“We know the environment we’re going into. It will be the same environment, or even tougher, than the one that we faced in January. And we’re excited about that.”